Artist: Brandon Peterson
When this series was first announced a couple of years ago I was extremely happy, and really looking forward to it, but since it's start, and with it now almost being over it's been one of the biggest let-downs I've seen in comics, and to be honest it will be good when it's over.
Captured by the Defenders of this new timeline, Wolverine is questioned by Iron Man over the death of Hank Pym, whilst Invisible Woman (Sue Storm) tries to escape, and Emma Frost tries to send the Defenders back to their Sanctorum.
Yet another disappointing issue, and to be honest I'd be more surprised to see a decent issue come out of the remaining two issue that follow this one. Brian Michael Bendis has really dropped the ball with this storyline, as although he's had some bad stories in the past, I don't think there has been any as disappointing as this story, and I seriously can't wait for it to be over with. Don't get me wrong there are a few good bits about this series, and this issue, and I have been trying to be as nice as possible to this series, as I don't like being to negative, but it's really hard not to with this, especially when it's one disappointing issue, followed by another. Now the good bits in Bendis writing was that learning some of the history of this alternative future was interesting, and the reaction of the character's from this alternative universe was also interesting, but besides that the issue was slow, and slightly boring. There was however an exciting action sequence, but it felt a bit forced, and unnecessary. Besides that Bendis just continued to develop this disappointing story even slower than he's been doing, and if he is going to end this story with a bang, it better be a pretty huge bang, and even that won't save the story as a whole.
Only Brandon Peterson did the art on this issue, as with everything being set in the present there was no need foe Carlos Pacheco (who was doing the art for the past sequences), which was a real shame as I really enjoyed his art. Now Peterson's art again was pretty good, and normally I'd be happy with this, but after seeing both Pacheco, and Bryan Hitch produce some fabulous artwork it's hard to appreciate this for what it is, knowing that there's been better art on the series. I did however still love Peterson's more grittier style, and feel that it really suits this new version of the present, as it really fit's with the new tone's. I did however find some of the facial expressions a bit awkward, but that wasn't a big deal, and Peterson more than made up for it with a fabulous action sequence that was very entertaining, ans visually stunning. I also really loved Peterson's cover, and loved how it hinted at the content of this issue, without spoiling it early on. Peterson also did a fabulous job of the layouts, and the character's facial expressions, as both were handled perfectly, and really made the issue that much more dramatic, and dynamic, something that it really needed.
This issue started with Iron Man sifting through Wolverine, and Sue's memories, seeing what the universe would have been like if Hank Pym lived. This was a very interesting sequence, and the interaction Iron Man had with Professor X, and Emma Frost was very interesting, and dramatic, and the emotional reactions being very subtle really helped make a slow, and dull sequence that little bit better. I also liked how the character's had very similar characteristics as they did in the normal universe, whilst still having some obvious signs of change, which really made the connection between these character's much more unique, and interesting.
Iron Man would then go and question Wolverine about his actions, asking him if he felt the death of Hank Pym was worth it. Now I wont go into any more detail, as to avoid spoilers, but this had to be the most heated, and exciting conversations that we've seen in the whole story, and although when it comes down to it, I'm still not a fan of this new universe, the conversation was still very interesting. I especially loved how both Wolverine, and Iron Man were very emotionally driven during this conversation, with Wolverine showing little emotion, whilst showing that he isn't proud of his actions, whilst Iron Man feels angry about the death of his friend, as well as other emotions aimed at Wolverine.
Whilst this is happening Emma is sent to tell the Defenders to return to their Sanctorum, which doesn't go down well with the Defenders, who believe that Iron Man doesn't trust them. Now this was again a very interesting, and entertaining sequence, but like the others it just didn't stand out too much, and felt unnecessary, much like this whole alternative universe seems to feel. I did however like that we see how this changed universe has affected the characteristics of the other Defenders, as they are quite differnet from their normal counterparts. This issue would also go into saying why this team's called the Defender, and not the Avengers, something that I questioned last issue. Now again I won't go into details as this would give away an interesting spoiler, but it was nice to have some clarity to this, and it made the whole fact of naming them the Defenders very appropriate, which has been one of Bendis' more cleverer decisions in this series.
The thing that interested me the most about this issue however was learning the changes to the history of the Marvel Universe, which was really interesting. We already learned that certain events that are key to the Marvel Universe we know and love have changed, but this issue would go to show some events that never happened, and how they've caused these character's to be the way they are. Now again I won't go into too much detail as to avoid spoilers, but it was a very interesting, and unique turn of events, and although I still much prefer the event that really happened, it showed a more clever side to Bendis' writing, which makes the fact that this is a disappointing series that much harder to take in.
This issue is once again very slow, and dull, and the series continues to be disappointing. Although there were some interesting, and clever things added by Bendis in this issue, I just couldn't get over the fact that this story has been developing at way too slow a rate, with the odd exciting moments being overshadowed by disappointment. I would only recommend this issue to anyone who's already getting the series, as you might as well for three more issues (four if you count Age of Ultron #10AI), but anyone considering getting this at a later date, or getting the trade when it's released, I'd recommend against it.